From education to employment

A level class sizes and their cost efficiency

Over the last three years, A level providers have experienced a period of considerable change. This change has centred on the way in which post-16 provision is funded, the levels of per-pupil funding and expectations around qualifications and how they are structured.

In this context, in July 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) commissioned Isos Partnership to undertake research to explore the decision-making process about A level class sizes and to understand the impact that class sizes have on the cost-efficiency of A level provision.

The research team undertook fieldwork visits to 24 A level providers, covering a mix of school sixth forms, sixth-form colleges, further education (FE) colleges and a university technical college (UTC).

The sample, although small, was well-balanced in terms of geography, size, deprivation and attainment. As well as the qualitative data gathered through the fieldwork, each provider completed a template setting out key information on the structure of A level provision in their institution, class sizes across six key subjects and the cost of delivering their A level provision.

Both the qualitative and quantitative data have been used to inform the findings in the research report: “Understanding costs of A level provision via the decision making process behind class sizes.

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